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The Skin Game

December 21, 2007

Len “Spinner” Harris is a small-stream trout wizard who guides in Wisconsin’s famed Driftless Area, a fascinating, varied country that was never touched by glaciers.

Aside from his angling skills, Len is an accomplished photographer. You can see some of his work on his website:

Bored one day, he decided to electronically excise patches of skin from some of trout in his photos, assembling them in an interesting layout. What came together is a quiz for Outdoor Life readers.

The challenge: Can you identify the type of trout in each of the 31 images here? Len cautions that these are all small-stream Midwestern trout. As I’m sure you know, trout (as well as other game fish) exhibit color/marking variations across the U.S.

There are three trout species in this quiz: Brook, Brown, Rainbow and Tiger (a hybrid male brook crossed with a female brown).

Click here to take the skin quiz!

If you’d like to fish with Len, contact him at the above site, or:
Len Harris
Driftless Area Trout Adventures

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Recent News

  • December 12, 2007

    Fantasy Fishing: Win $1 Million!-0


    Yesterday FLW Outdoors announced the launch of their new fantasy fishing game (, and as touted it will be the "largest-ever guaranteed cash and prize payout in the history of fantasy sports."

    GFlw_fantasy_fishing_logorand prize for being at the top of the fantasy fishing leaderboard after all seven events is a whopping $1,000,000! That's for picking 10 pro anglers to a roster at each event and hoping you have more guys standing on the podium (as close to the correct order as possible) at the end of the tournament than anybody else. Additionally, big prizes will be given out at each tour stop: $100,000 cash, Chevy trucks, Ranger boats, Yamaha ATVs and PWCs, Wal-Mart gift cards and more. In total the prize purse exceeds $1.7 million. That's some serious cash for any fantasy game. Just think about it: you have a chance to win big cash, a truck and a boat; not just once, but seven times! And for doing nothing but picking 10 dudes to a team!

    The game's scoring system is based on several factors, the most important being the finishing order of pros. Obviously, it's important, although not completely dependent upon, playing the game and building upon your point total throughout the season. If, however, you were to join the game late, you can still make up ground and win the million bucks because of a weighted scoring system in the season finale, the Forrest Wood Cup. Conceivably, you could win $1,000,000 by just playing that one tournament. Season-long players may cry 'no fair' due to their loyal following of the game throughout the season, but it's a smart move not only from the game play side of things (what's the incentive to continue play should you miss a tourney?) but also from a marketing standpoint (continued promotion of the game in Wal-Mart throughout the season, rather than just in the weeks leading up to it).

    Oh, yeah, the driving force behind FLW, Irwin Jacobs, has created a mini-game to incentivize early sign-ups. If a player picks the top seven anglers in any of the seven tournaments, they can win some serious cash (as if $1M wasn't serious enough...), here's the break down:

    Sign up:
    From now until Dec. 28: win $5,000,000
    Dec. 29 to Jan. 5: win $4,000,000
    Jan. 6 to Jan. 14: win $3,000,000
    After Jan. 15: win $2,000,000


    In a quick test drive of the site, the game looks clean, simple to navigate and easy to play. Everything a website and fantasy game should be. The concept is much easier to grasp than other fantasy fishing scoring systems, which, along with big bucks on the line, should help pull all but the most ardent (or perhaps brain dead) supporters/players away, if only to play the game.

    The game is free to play, which is a huge draw in itself, and everyone is eligible to win the $1M. However, there is one little kicker: premium content is available to "Player's Advantage" members only. It's $40 to become a "Player." That $40 includes access to all the tools, a membership to FLW, a $15 gift card to Wal-Mart and other things.

    Game-play tools are DEEP and useful (as useful as predicting the finishing order of a fishing tournament can be) and include angler profiles, lake reports, live feeds from weigh-ins, a database that looks up an angler's success on any lake, pundit's picks, a trend indicator to see which anglers are being picked the most (great for strategy play if you're looking to make a big move), podcasts, quick picks (if you don't want to think about it), mobile alerts (on the last two days of the tourney an alert will be sent to your phone when an angler on your roster catches a fish), as well as the ability to form leagues (to play against friends and family) and a few other things.

    It'll be interesting to watch and see how a prize purse and sponsorship package of this magnitude plays out. Additionally, it'll be interesting to watch the marketing push behind it. Irwin Jacobs said, "you'll have to hide to not know about this." Keep your eyes open for fantasy fishing promos in Wal-Mart stores across the country, on boxes of cereal, on candy bars and in other mainstream areas. The push for a mainstream, as well as international (the game will be marketed in 14 languages around the globe), audience is key to keeping sponsorship levels this high.

    Without a doubt, however, this is the fantasy fishing game to play. It blows the BASS Fantasy Fishing game out of the water with it's depth, game play, ease of registration and prize package...along with perhaps taking what may turn out to be a huge step to winning the hearts, minds and imaginations of future bass anglers.

    Brian Lynn
    Senior Editor
    Outdoor Life

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • December 3, 2007

    Fantasy Fishing: FLW's Big Purse-0


    "Bass fishing is the next NASCAR"

    That has been the mantra of those in the bass-biz since ESPN lost it's NASCAR television contract nearly eight years ago. With the departure of the largest sport in the country, ESPN blew out its weekend schedule with Saturday and Sunday morning outdoors programming. Now that "The Worldwide Leader in Sports" has regained a share of the NASCAR gold, the outdoors block, including bass fishing, has been once again relegated to a weekend afterthought—a conglomerated mish-mash of hunting and fishing shows used as a lead-in to race coverage.

    Along the way, however, both BASS (owned by ESPN) and FLW jumped on the fantasy sports phenomenon that was taking place in mainstream sports. Not only were the two groups vying for the same anglers and sponsors, they were each trying to attract a limited number of bass enthusiasts that were also computer literate enough to play online fantasy fishing. Both sites/games saw yearly growth with tens-of-thousands of players.

    Now FLW seems to be making a move to not only grab the majority of those computer literate bass fishing aficianodos in the U.S., but also those overseas (namely Japan) as well as mainstream fantasy sports players.

    Rumor has it that FLW just upped the ante in a big way. Our sources are saying that the money laid down by FLW will result in "tens-of-millions of fantasy players" and recent press announcement said it would be the "largest-ever guaranteed cash and prize payout in the history of fantasy sports."

    That's not in the history of bass fantasy fishing, that's in the history of all fantasy sports!

    While "tens-of-millions of players" seems extremely ambitious to us (initial estimates are 10-40 million players), if FLW is ponying up enough cash and prizes they very well could tap into the mainstream fantasy market (although it's not completely clear as to whether they have the vehicle to push the game mainstream, ala BASS via ESPN); which would be a huge boon not only for their fantasy game, but for interest in the sport of bass fishing, as well as mega-boost to FLW in its competition with BASS to attract anglers and members at the grassroots level.

    To compete on the level of mainstream however, it will have to be a serious amount of cash, not only to the overall winner but also to a fair number of other finishers. And to maintain interest, prizes would have to be rich enough that players visited and played at each tour stop. That's a lot of dough and merchandise that sponsors will have to cough up. You're looking at millions of bucks. That's a HUGE prize package.

    Can FLW pull off a multi-million dollar prize purse for fantasy fishing? We'll find out Dec. 11 when they're holding a big press conference in New York City's Waldorf-Astoria (the setting definitely fits the theme of a rich payoff...).

    Stay tuned for more details...

    Brian Lynn
    Senior Editor
    Outdoor Life

    [ Read Full Post ]